There is a lot that you can do to protect your rights after a car accident. You have the right to pursue a just outcome and go after any forms of financial compensation that you may qualify for to cover your injuries, damaged property, and other damages.
Yet, before you get into the weeds on these more involved processes, you should act immediately to protect your rights. You can do so by:
- Documenting any evidence to which you have access
- Exchanging information with the driver and witnesses at the scene
Gather Evidence of Your Collision
After a car accident, you should document the scene as much as possible, if your injuries and appropriate concern for your safety permit it. You can use your phone or another portable electronic device to capture both photos and videos of the scene. Taking pictures of vehicle damage, including shots of license plates, positions of vehicles in the roadway before being moved (or, if that is impossible or unsafe, after the vehicles have been moved), road conditions, and any other pertinent details can help to provide further context for the nature of the accident at later stages in your case.
The window of opportunity for taking these kinds of photographs is often limited, so act quickly once you have contacted medical assistance and reported the accident to local law enforcement authorities.
After getting as many photos and videos of the scene of the accident as you can, make sure to keep this evidence somewhere safe until it is time to build your case.
Avoid Discussing the Accident When Possible
Speaking to other drivers is useful after an accident, as you will want to exchange contact and insurance information. At this stage, however, it is usually a good idea to keep legal talks to a minimum. While it may seem clear to you that another driver was liable for an accident, it is best to keep quiet on this kind of legal speculation at the scene of an accident. Do not make statements like, “Oh, I’m so sorry, it’s my fault.” This advice is not at all intended to promote dishonesty. Rather, it is intended to protect you in light of some important truths. The period of time immediately following a car accident can be filled with heightened emotion. A “knee-jerk,” reflexive statement can very often be an expression of these emotions rather than a calm, measured conclusion reached after a careful examination of all the facts and circumstances. However, if a legal claim is made after the accident, a statement such as, “Oh I’m so sorry, it’s my fault,” at the scene of the accident will be offered by the adversarial insurance carrier and defense lawyers in such a way as to potentially have a disproportionately persuasive effect, notwithstanding other evidence that was collected in the interim.
Once you have a lawyer on your case, they will handle all necessary correspondence with other drivers, their insurance companies, and any other parties that are relevant to your incident. This means that you will not have to worry about negotiating with other drivers, insurance companies, or other parties related to your collision.
Keep the Statute of Limitations and Other Time-Related Considerations in Mind
As New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules (CVP) §214 shows, you have a limited amount of time to file a suit after being involved in an incident that causes personal injury. The State of New York will not allow you to move forward with a case if you fail to take action within the amount of time permitted to you by the statute of limitations. In addition to the statute of limitations, claims and lawsuits are governed by other deadlines as well. It is also important to keep in mind that evidence such as witness statements and surveillance or dash-cam video are best obtained as soon as possible, before they may become unavailable for a wide variety of reasons.
With specific reference to the statute of limitations, while a lawsuit is not always necessary to obtain compensation after a collision, you want to keep this option open. Otherwise, you may jeopardize your final option for seeking damages for your injuries. Quite frankly, one the option of a lawsuit is time-barred, the option of a settlement is no longer available either. Insurance carriers or even uninsured defendants whose personal assets are exposed by a potential lawsuit have no motivation to settle once the “threat” of a lawsuit has been eliminated because the statute of limitations has expired.
For the various reasons mentioned, when you connect with a lawyer within the necessary amount of time, they can begin the process of constructing a case that represents your legal stance right away. In fact, the sooner you contact a car accident lawyer the greater opportunity the lawyer will have to build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney to Represent You
After obtaining photos and exchanging contact information with other parties, notifying law enforcement, and, most importantly, obtaining needed medical attention, contacting a lawyer can help you to protect your rights after a car accident. There are many benefits that a lawyer can contribute to your case, from start to finish.
An attorney can gather information regarding your collision and use it to construct a case for compensation. This will involve communicating with various parties on your behalf, establishing liable parties, and interpreting any laws that may apply to your situation.
Another benefit of having a lawyer on your case lies in the fact that they can go after any other evidence you were unable to obtain and file all the necessary paperwork for your claim or lawsuit. With a lawyer working on your side, you can place your full energy on medical treatments and healing from your injuries.
Contact Friedman & Simon L.L.P. Today
There is a lot that you can do to protect your rights after a car accident. However, trying to construct a legal case on your own is a challenging process that could risk your ability to obtain compensation. With a lawyer fighting on your behalf, you can free yourself up to focus on healing from your injuries, tending to your loved ones, and getting back on your feet. The potential benefits of hiring a lawyer are enhanced by the fact that, with a contingency fee arrangement, your car accident lawyer will only get paid if and when you win money. You can enjoy the benefits of having a car accident lawyer advocate for you without ever having to have any out-of-pocket expense.
A lawyer from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., will advocate for your legal position after a car accident. Our team will keep you updated on your case, identify liable parties, communicate with other parties related to your situation, gather evidence, and determine a value for your case.
For a free consultation, reach out and connect with a representative at our office today at (516) 932-0400.